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Exhibition on Exposition: New Artwork for the Metro Expo Line

Wednesday April 18, 2012

Stations on the Metro Expo Line include 176 new artworks that enrich the transit environment and contribute to the artistic vibrancy of the neighborhoods served by Metro.

Expo/Crenshaw Station art by Willie Robert Middlebrook Jr.
Expo/Crenshaw Station, Wanderers , Willie Robert Middlebrook, artist

Ten artists were commissioned to create original artwork for each of the ten new stations. Art panels featuring designs by the artists are displayed above the entry archways and seating areas.

There are between 8 and 24 individual art panels per station, depending on station configuration. The panels display a body of work by a single artist and add a continuous visual narrative that defines the rail line as it travels through various neighborhoods.

"The station artwork creates stunning new neighborhood landmarks," said Jorge Pardo, Director of Art & Design for Metro Creative Services. "We've presented the artwork like an outdoor gallery display, with art scrolling horizontally along the entire length of the platform to maximize visibility. The art panels are double-sided so whether you're a Metro customer on a station platform or a pedestrian, cyclist, neighborhood resident, or motorist in proximity to the station, you'll be able to enjoy the art."

Durable materials ensure the artwork is resistant to graffiti and color fading, and is easy to maintain. Fabrication materials include glass mosaic, ceramic mosaic, photographic porcelain tile and porcelain enamel steel.

Artworks by the following artists, all from California, are listed in station order from east to west:

23 rd Street Station:  Christofer C. Dierdorff,  The Intimacy of Place
A sea of faces welcomes visitors to  the station, a broad cultural mix of individuals who define life in the neighborhood-a firefighter, a baker, a hat maker, and a mechanic, among others. Dierdorff populated the station with intimate portraits of fronts and backs of heads as a commentary on public transportation, where people from many walks of life are removed from their personal spaces and find themselves in close physical proximity with strangers.

Jefferson/USC Station:  Samuel Rodriguez, Urban Dualities
Rodriguez weaves a visual narrative that includes fragments of building facades, vintage rail cars, human figures, and fictional characters. The imagery is visually divided by the silhouette of bike frames, resembling the layout of a comic book. The artist chose bicycle imagery to emphasize the human powered modes of transportation along the line.

USC/Expo Park Station:  Robbert Flick, On Saturdays
Flick presents the urban landscape of the major streets surrounding Exposition Park and the University of Southern California as a stream of images one might encounter through the window of a moving vehicle. By slowing down the process of looking, the viewer discovers segments of neighborhoods they might not notice otherwise. The artwork presents these thoroughfares as they existed at the time they were photographed-a time of major transformation in the area.

Expo/Vermont Station:  Jessica Polzin McCoy, Neighborhood Portrait: Reconstructed
McCoy's artwork captures the daily rhythms of the historic West Adams neighborhood around the station. She worked to recreate the welcoming responses she experienced while documenting individual residences and the energy of the local streets. The final artwork-based on hundreds of photographs taken by the artist in the neighborhood-shares with Metro riders the gardens, front porches, living rooms and street life of local residents.

Expo/Western Station:  Ronald J. Llanos, Ephemeral Views: A Visual Essay
A constant observer of city life, Llanos presents sketches of everyday activities. The art panels are designed to unfold like the pages of an open book, depicting scenes and characters from the neighborhood's active streets. Some of the imagery captured in Llanos' vignettes:  large open skies dotted with palm trees and billboards, women walking down the street pushing baby carriages, a man selling flowers from a pushcart, and neighborhood teens.

Expo/Crenshaw Station: Willie Robert Middlebrook Jr., Wanderers
Middlebrook's artwork explores connections between diverse populations and between humans and the earth. His images of human portraits interspersed with the earth reminds viewers of our shared planet, which is the unifying element in many panels. In some panels the earth appears as an offering, held out for the viewer by two female hands. In others it rotates around figures, then disappears from the picture plane. Embodying the theme of connectivity, the bold color palette echoes the stained glass windows at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, which is visible from the station platform.

Farmdale Station:  Michael Massenburg, All in a Day
Massenburg depicts scenes of daily life in the neighborhoods surrounding the station area. Drawing on the rich history of Dorsey High School and the surrounding community, the art panels illustrate the many people who have contributed to the area's growth and cultural life. Massenburg uses mixed media techniques, and combines imagery that is representational and abstract.

Expo/La Brea Station:  Jose Lozano, LA Metro Lotería
Lotería (translated as 'lottery' in English) is based on a Mexican game of chance, similar to Bingo, but using images on a deck of cards instead of numbers. LA Metro Lotería plays with the station name "La Brea," retaining the Spanish language prefixes "La," "El," or "Los," and substituting "Brea" with passenger interactions commonly encountered while riding Metro. The images present portrayals of everyday people traveling throughout the city.

La Cienega/Jefferson Station:  Daniel Gonzalez, Engraved in Memory
Gonzalez's imagery illustrates the history of the Ballona Creek and the local area, with references to the Mission and Californio periods as well as the film industry. Art panels display black and white images of the landscape with the people native to the area, representations of the Californio rancheria period, changing architecture and the film industry moving into Culver City. The Ballona Creek flows through several art panels, constant and recognizable, visually linking the images across time.

Culver City Station:  Tom LaDuke, Unknowable Origins
Softly rendered painterly views of Culver City from surrounding hillside viewpoints frame the entry to the station. Abstracted face shapes of Culver City historic, political and entertainment industry notables appear in each of the art panels. On gateway arch art panels, the face shapes float across the length of the landscape, their placement determined by the notes of a musical score, composed by the artist while riding the train. On seating module art panels, the shapes expand outwards like rings on a tree, their outlines encircling icons from the city's seal.

Metro Expo Line
The 8.6 mile first phase of the Expo Line connects the Westside by rail to Downtown LA, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Long Beach and dozens of points in between. With 10 new stations serving USC, Exposition Park, and diverse LA neighborhoods such as Culver City, the Crenshaw District, and Downtown LA, the Metro Rail system will expand to 80 stations and over 87 miles of rail to destinations across LA County.

Metro Art Program
From rail and bus stations to transit facilities, construction fences and poetry cards, Metro Art enriches the transit environment and contributes to the artistic vibrancy of the neighborhoods we serve. Metro commissions artists to create engaging artworks that make the journey more inviting and pleasurable for transit users. The artworks mirror Los Angeles County's rich contemporary and popular cultures.

Established in 1989, the Metro Art program has commissioned over 300 artists for a wide variety of temporary and permanent projects. Artists are selected through a peer review process with community input. All works are created specifically for their transit-related sites. Metro's public art policy allocates one half of one percent of project construction costs for art.

More information and free docent guided tours:  visit metro.net/art or call 213/922-4ART
Artwork copyrighted, all rights reserved.

To request images of artwork for publication please email yamamotoz@metro.net .

Editors Note: "Metro" should be used when referring to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


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